Challenge Accepted

Every December, Gretchen Garceau Kragh ’91 attends a competitive cookie exchange held by a friend. And every year, she arrives at the party with a different themed cookie. Once it was the Grinch, another time it was Christmas in Texas (the Alamo, cactus and cowboy boots) and in one year it was A Christmas Story (leg lamp, bunny outfit and bb gun). Since then, people have asked Kragh to make Christmas cookies for them. She said, “I did about 30 dozen and thought that was just a nice way to make a little extra cash for the holidays. Then I started getting orders for Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day. But it was Easter when things finally took off. After that, I thought I should start formalizing operations and came up with a name, got my LLC from the state of Texas and developed a website and social media channels.”

Southtown Cookie Company was established in December of 2019 and offers a variety of shapes and themes of the classic sugar cookie. Since Kragh balances this business with her (as she describes) “real” job as a grant writer, she tries not to take on more than 15-20 dozen cookies per week. Kragh said, “People would be surprised how physically taxing decorating cookies is. A lot of standing and hunching over during the decorating process makes me have to allow time for my body to recover. In the month of December, I bump it up to a max of 40 dozen a week, but I know that is only for about three weeks and I just need to power through it.” December is Kragh’s busiest month and last year she made 150 dozen holiday cookies. May is her second busiest month with Teacher Appreciation Week, Mother’s Day, First Communion and graduations.

Kragh’s most popular cookie to date was a dumpster fire cookie she created to mark what a bad year 2020 was for everyone. She said, “I did it as a joke for one customer and then it took off. Now I can’t remember many I did, but it was very popular.” Kragh’s most difficult cookie design is the Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian. She said, “They don’t look complicated, but they really are. With cookie decorating, you can’t really apply one color until the other color has dried, otherwise the colors will just bleed or run together. Those cookies took a lot of time because there were a lot of colors on top of colors. Logo cookies are also hard depending on the complexity of the design.”

Kragh lives in San Antonio with her husband, John, and their two cats, Coconut and Nutmeg. Their two bucket list items are to play golf in all 50 states and to go to a baseball game at every major league ballpark. They have currently played golf in 30 states and have been to 15 ballparks.

And if all this does not keep Kragh busy enough, she is also very involved in the San Antonio community. Kragh serves on the board of directors for the Animal Defense League, the largest no-kill animal shelter in San Antonio. She also serves as the president of the Junior League of San Antonio and serves on the board of the Association of Junior Leagues International, which oversees the 292 Junior Leagues around the world. In 2019, Kragh was selected as the Junior League of San Antonio’s “Volunteer Extraordinaire” and was recognized at a luncheon at which the keynote speaker was First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Lastly, Kragh has been appointed by the City of San Antonio to serve on the Municipal Golf Association board of directors, which oversees the eight municipal golf courses in San Antonio.

Southtown Cookie Company can be found here: